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Rami Shaaban: Few Egyptians have taken the step that Elneny has
Although Elneny is the first full Egypt international to play for Arsenal, Shaaban is of Egyptian descent from his father’s side and is a keen follower of Egyptians plying their trade around Europe.
The ex-goalkeeper who was understudy to Jens Lehmann during the Invincibles season has expressed his delight at seeing an Egyptian flourish in Europe.
“Coming from where he has, taking that step from Basel to Arsenal, can be challenging,” Shaaban told Arsenal.com. “But some people manage to do it really well and he has definitely adapted.
“Looking at Egyptian players historically, there have been some amazing talents but only a few have been able to take that step. I think that Mohamed Elneny will be one of them. I think he’s going to fit the club perfectly and listening to what the boss says about him as well only makes me more convinced.
“Football is like a religion for Egyptians, especially with the tough times in Egypt at the moment. I remember when I went to Egypt. It was like a superstar had arrived at the airport. For me it was a shock.
“You can’t compare that with Sweden. In Egypt, they really praise their stars. He has really adapted and I hope he gets more and more time. But it will take time. I hope he can make that step to be a regular and become something really big at Arsenal.”
Rami Shaaban is a keen follower of Cairo giants Zamalek but will also surely be following Elneny’s preparations closely as the Egypt national team gear up for the crucial double header against Nigeria on Friday.